ECHO

EXCLUSIVE: Blanks Chats Debut Album ‘Nothing Lasts Forever and That’s OK’

Since 2017, YouTuber Blanks has been remaking popular songs from scratch in under an hour.  Four years, or 35064 hours later, the indie-pop artist is finally releasing his debut original album, ‘Nothing Lasts Forever and That’s OK.’

Written, composed, and executive produced by the Netherlands artist, the ten-track project is inspired by a spectrum of bittersweet, nostalgic memories from Blanks’ life ranging from love to loss, specifically the loss of his best friend at a young age.

The release follows previous singles “What You Do To Me,” “Turn Around,” “Classic Armstrong,” “Never Have I Ever,” and “I’m Sorry.” Each single’s release was accompanied by a video that, when watched in succession, tells the fictional coming of age love story of Emma and Erik (played by Blanks).

We chatted with Blanks to discover the story behind the album title, what it was like working on the project, and what fans can expect next, including the upcoming sold-out UK and Europe tour.

Congrats on the release of your debut album! What does the title, ‘Nothing Lasts Forever And That’s OK’ mean to you?

Thank you!! The album title is inspired by the Portuguese word ‘saudade’, which describes an emotional state of nostalgic melancholic longing for something or someone that one cares about, knowing the object of longing might never be had again. I have so many memories that I’ll never forget (summer nights with friends, going to Paris with a loved one, people you meet over summer, get really close with and then never see again) that I wish I could relive and feel exactly the same, but I can’t. So when I learned about ‘saudade’ I related to the feeling immediately. However, this feeling made me realize you have to fully enjoy every present moment – it might turn into a deeply cherished memory! When I explained this train of thought to a friend of mine (the same friend I wrote “I’m Sorry” with, the fifth track on the album) we concluded: “Nothing Lasts Forever And That’s OK”. And that just felt right the moment we said it. 

You produced, composed, and wrote the majority of the album. What was that experience like?

So much fun and so much more work than I thought it would be when I started haha! It’s my debut album, so I wanted everything to sound great! It’s also very different to work on an album with a concept compared to singles, which I was basically doing up to this point. I loved thinking of a concept, make the songs work, and make them sound cohesive.

What is your favorite track off the album, and why? 

It changes now and then, but I really love “I’m Sorry” at the moment. I love that it shows a completely different (musical) side of me. But I also LOVE “What You Do To Me” and “Except For You”. It’s so hard, I imagine it’s like picking a favorite child: you love them all!!

You wrote “Never Have I Ever” over zoom with Joonas Parkkonen in Finland and Eirik Næss in the Maldives. What was that process like?

It was so much fun! We had written together over Zoom before, so we had a nice workflow going: Joonas would send over a little instrumental idea, and Eirik and I would both record as many vocal melody ideas we could come up with, after which we listened to all of them and kind of puzzled the best ones together. And the crazy thing is, Eirik was doing all this sitting on the beach. Brought some great vibes haha!

Do you have any fun memories from the process of creating this album? 

That zoom session stands out haha, but also the writing of “I’m Sorry”! I wrote that with a friend of mine (Wouter Vingerhoed) in a cabin in the woods. We wrote the song in one night, recorded the vocals, piano, and guitar in one take the next morning, and that was it. It felt so authentic that we decided to keep it that way. Another fun memory was writing “What You Do To Me”. I remember writing that chorus over the drums and synths and just listening to it on repeat for a week. I couldn’t figure out a verse that was good enough, but when I had it I literally was jumping around the studio haha!

If you could set fans up in the perfect environment to listen to your album, what do you imagine it looking like? 

The sun is setting. It’s a warm summer night. They’re in the car with their best friends, driving down a beautiful coastline. They’re heading somewhere exciting. Maybe a holiday? A night out? Not sure, but there is this feeling of adventure. The night is warm, the windows are down (or even better, the car is a convertible), and then they listen to the album on full volume. Hands in the air, wind through their hair, smiling. 

The music videos for your album’s singles, when viewed in order, tell the coming-of-age love story of Emma and Erik. Where did the concept for the storyline and videos come from?

My personal memories during my coming of age era are very intertwined with the music I listened to then. For the music video, I wanted to make a storyline with that idea: a coming of age story with my album as the soundtrack, just like the music that was the soundtrack of my memories. 

Did you already have the storyline in mind when you were writing?

Nope! It developed while I was finishing the album. When my team and I decided it would become a five-part music video series, I had a very general outline of the story in my head, but during the process of finishing the album, the narrative came together.

In the music video for “What You Do to Me,” you play almost every character. What was it like playing all those roles?

Very hectic haha!! I had to change clothes A LOT of times that day, and remember what every character was wearing for continuity, but looking back on it, it was so worth it! 

You’re very interactive with your fans. You’ve been inspired by fan ideas for songs, and you included fans in your music video as extras, featured them in a karaoke video, and as students in a yearbook. Why is it important to you to include your fans in the process and what is your favorite part about collaborating with them? 

The only reason I get to do what I do is because of my fans!! And they are genuinely all nice people, so why not include them? It’s always more fun with more people. 🙂

What can those fans expect from your European and UK tour this Fall?

A great live show, with a lot of energy, good vibes, and overexcited dance moves!! I want everyone to leave and feel happy and good about themselves. 🙂

What can fans look forward to next? 

A bigger headline tour next year in Europe and the USA, playing more festivals, releasing new music, and collabs… 🙂

What is one quote that you have heard or that you go by that you want to ECHO out to the world?

I read this quote the other day, by Neil Strauss on Twitter and I thought it was beautiful. 

People always asking, “What is my passion?” A passion isn’t *what* you do. It’s what you bring to whatever you do.

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